Most households will benefit from a cost of living payment of £150 in Wales
The Welsh Government has announced an expanded package of measures to help those facing the cost of living crisis, including a cost of living payment of £150 to be paid as soon as possible and an additional £200 for low-income households. income through the Winter Fuel Payment next winter.
The funding package is significantly larger than the equivalent support provided by the UK government in England.
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said the support reflects the Welsh Government’s priority to “create a fairer Wales where no one is left behind”. She announced the funding when the supplementary budget was released later in the day (February 15).
A cost of living payment of £150 will be made to all households who live in properties in the AD municipal tax brackets, as well as beneficiaries of the Municipal Tax Reduction Scheme in all brackets. The Welsh Government will work with local authorities to provide more details on how the scheme will work and will start making payments as soon as possible.
On top of this £152m scheme, a further £25m will be provided as discretionary funds to local authorities, allowing councils to use their local knowledge to help households that may be struggling.
In 2022-23, over £100m will be provided to bolster other programs that help people cope with the rising cost of living. More money will be provided through the Discretionary Assistance Fund and the Winter Fuel Support Scheme, which will provide an additional £200 later this year to hundreds of thousands of low-income households.
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said:
“People are facing a very real cost of living crisis and urgent and significant action is needed.
“The Chancellor’s offer at the start of the month was below what people needed. We were able to go above and beyond to help more Welsh households pay their bills, heat homes and put food on the table.
“In total, we are nearly doubling the equivalent support provided by the UK Government to those who need it most, reflecting our priority of creating a fairer Wales in which no one is left behind.”
The Discretionary Relief Fund helps people pay for essential expenses such as food, gas, electricity, clothing or emergency travel. The funding announced today will allow more frequent payments to continue for a broader group of people for an additional year. Since May 2020, more people can claim more money more frequently through the Discretionary Assistance Fund, and these additional flexibilities will now be in place until March 2023.
The Winter Fuel Support Scheme allows households to claim a one-time payment of £200 to help pay winter fuel bills. Its extension means that the program will be able to operate next winter and will also be able to reach more households.
The Winter Fuel Support Scheme remains open this financial year and applications must be received by a local council by February 28.
Jane Hutt, Minister for Social Justice, said:
“The funding we are announcing today will ensure that more people get more support, in difficult circumstances for so many families in Wales.
“As bills rise, prices rise and wages are stretched, we know people will need help, which is why I have called a nationwide cost of living summit from Wales on Thursday 17 February, with over a hundred participants from a wide range of social partners and third sector organizations across Wales to discuss the crisis and the proactive actions we can take to support the people across Wales.
“Resolving the cost of living crisis remains a critical priority for this government and we will continue to examine all options available to us.”
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